Our Guide to the Ultimate Snowboard Workout
8 Exercises for Snowboarding to Make This Season Your Best
When the first snow starts to fall each year, even experienced snowboarders may feel a bit like Bambi trying to walk on ice for the first time. The key to crushing the first powder day is knowing how to practice snowboarding at home in the offseason. Here are some of the best tips for snowboarding training and workouts you can do at home to get ready for the season, or stay fit on your days off the slopes.
Lower Body Exercises
In the time leading up to snowboard season, it’s important to condition your ankles, legs, hips, and glutes for the demanding work you’re about to make them do for four to seven months (depending on where you live). Start incorporating these exercises into your pre-season snowboard workout stat:
If you do only one exercise for snowboarding, make it squats. This essential move works pretty much everything below the belt, including your hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. There are lots of ways to perform a squat, and all of the variations make for a great snowboard leg workout. Here are three of the most effective techniques:
- Goblet squats: Grab a kettlebell, dumbbell, your cat, or anything else in the 10-20 pound range and hold it at chest level. Place your feet shoulder width apart and shift your weight into your heels. Keep your core engaged and your spine straight as you sit back, lowering your butt toward the ground with knees tracking over toes. (Go as low as you’d like, but if your joints are sensitive, shoot for a 90° angle in the knees.) Hold for a second, then press through the heels to lift yourself back to standing. Start with one set of 20 reps (or two sets of 10) and build from there.
- Jump squats: Ditch the weight, but set yourself up just as you did for goblet squats. This time, instead of simply lifting up out of your squat to standing, press even harder through the legs to push yourself off the ground. As you land, sink right back down into your squat. For more of a challenge, pull your knees up to waist level while you’re airborne. Start with one set of 20 reps (or two sets of 10) and build from there.
- BOSU squats: If you have access to a BOSU ball, and aren’t using it as part of your snowboarding training, you’re missing out. Balance plays a huge role in how to snowboard better, and the more you can challenge your balance, the better it will get. Perform a set or two (15-20 reps each) of simple air squats on a BOSU ball. For an easier version of this exercise, stand on the bouncy side with the flat side down. To make this harder, place the bouncy side down and stand on the flat side. Incorporating BOSU squats into your snowboard workout will increase coordination and develop your stabilizer muscles.
Much like squats, lunges work all parts of the leg, but with a little more emphasis on the glutes and inner thighs. Try adding in these lunge variations next time you’re doing a snowboard workout at home:
- Alternating reverse lunge: Stand with feet about shoulder distance apart. Step one leg behind you and lower down, sending the back knee toward the floor as your front thigh becomes parallel to the floor (be sure the front knee doesn’t creep past the ankle). Make sure your upper body stays tall and strong. Return to standing and repeat on the opposite side; that’s one rep. Start with one set of 15 reps and build from there.
- Jumping lunge: Why should your legs get to have all the fun? Work your balance and coordination at the same time with jumping lunges. Begin in a lunge on either side, jump in the air and switch your legs, and land in a lunge on the opposite side. Start with two sets of 10 reps and build from there.
Build strength in your lower legs while simultaneously improving the stability and range of motion in your ankles. Stand with feet hip- or shoulder-width apart and lift your heels to flex your calves. Pause for a second, then slowly lower heels back to the ground. Start with one set of 20 reps (or two sets of 10) and build from there. If you’d like to add a nice calf stretch and increase flexion in your ankles, perform your calf raises with your forefeet on a step or box. As you lower down, let your heels drop below the edge.
While your lower body does most of the work when snowboarding, your core is also essential. For the most effective snowboarding workout, make sure to mix in some of these conditioning exercises as well.
This full-body static exercise works your entire core—not just your abs—which makes it perfect for a snowboard workout. Use this move to build strength in the back, chest, shoulders, and, yes, your abdominals. Set yourself up for plank by pretending you’re about to do push-ups: palms and toes firmly planted on the floor, hands in line with shoulders, engaged core (don’t let your hips and belly dip toward the ground!), and gaze focused a few inches out in front of you. Then, instead of doing push-ups, just hold still for as long as you can. Aim for 30-45 seconds to start and add more time as you get stronger. If this is too hard at first, start with forearm planks or knees-down planks instead and build toward full plank.
Side plank rotation
Stronger obliques = better snowboarding techniques! Develop those “side abs” to stay more stable on your board and rotate through your torso more effectively for smoother turns. Sound good? Then, start incorporating side plank rotations into your snowboard conditioning workouts.
Beginning in any side plank variation you like—full, forearm, bottom knee down, both knees down, feet stacked, or toe-to-heel—reach your top hand toward the sky or bring the top hand to the back of your head (like you would for a sit-up). Rotate your torso while reaching your extended arm between your body and the floor or sending your elbow toward the hand planted on the ground, then return to side plank. Repeat continuously for 20-30 seconds per side and build from there.
Addressing weaknesses in your legs and core will make you a better snowboarder, but strength is only part of the puzzle. After all, what good is being strong if you only have the stamina for one or two runs? The best workouts for snowboarding also build endurance, so include running, hiking, biking—or any form of cardio you enjoy—in your snowboarding training to ensure that your whole body will be ready to handle full days on the slopes this season.
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Ashley Peck’s early adventures exploring the woods behind her home proved the gateway to an adulthood as an avid hiker, mountain biker, climber and trail runner. When Ashley isn’t writing or wandering around the mountains, find her daydreaming about future trips or trying to convince her Australian shepherds that neither she nor her cats need to be herded.